“Money Heist”: Firearms and Fake Gold?
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On December 5, Netflix released the final episodes of “Money Heist,” putting an end to the Spanish sensation that shocked millions of viewers. Many never expected the show, as a foreign production, to find as much success as it did in the United States. However, the nail-biting plot and keen political commentary have more than propelled “Money Heist” to the top of Netflix’s charts.
Part two of season five picks up directly where part one left off, putting an end to the robbery of Spain’s national gold reserve. The episodes follow the nine remaining robbers as they attempt to get 90 tons of gold out of the bank of Spain without being killed by countless military troops stationed outside.
“Money Heist” has been praised for its heart-wrenching plot twists, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as the plot unfolds. While this season does not fall short in its subversion of expectations, some of its twists aren’t fleshed out enough and lack build-up or resolution. When fan-favorite characters like Nairobi (Alba Flores) and Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) die while fighting for their comrades, people expected there to be some homage to their deaths. But, the story doesn’t stop for a second, leaving these events hanging in the air and detracting from their emotional weight.
However, the show’s ending makes this season’s rushed pacing worth it, as the Professor and the robbers walk out of the bank of Spain with the real gold unscathed, while 90 tons of gold plated brass replace the national reserve. Revealed during the last few minutes of the finale, this ingenious move pulled from seemingly nowhere fixed all the problems caused during the heist. The suspenseful build-up to this big reveal leaves audiences satisfied and pleasantly surprised at the show’s finale.
Another highlight of the show is its strong character writing. While the core cast starts out as selfish fugitives granted refuge under the care of the Professor, they evolve into a family willing to stake their lives for one another, going as far as robbing Spain’s national bank to save one of their own. Specifically in this season, watching the robbers support one another and mourn for the deaths of their friends increased the audience’s engagement with the characters, rooting for them despite their immoral actions. Though their exact situation may not be relatable, their struggle against an unfair capitalistic system is. This gives the characters an extra dimension, making them all the more interesting to watch.
One of the other notable aspects of the show is its cinematography. Though mostly set in Spain, this season contains flashbacks of the Professor’s and his brother’s lives, taking us through scenes in France, Italy, Denmark, and other countries in Europe. Each scene is beautifully shot, masterfully showing the architecture and history of major cities with wide, panning shots.
Along with these attributes also comes the shift in the show’s agenda. What started as a suspenseful, thrilling, story about burglars in jumpsuits, evolved into a provocative statement about anti-capitalism, left-wing revolutions, and Spain’s economic difficulties. The show’s heist isn’t only a form of retribution, but it’s also a statement against the oppressive Spanish government that tortures one of the robbers after capturing them. In real life, this stance against capitalism and support of the working class inspired protests across the globe as people called for police abolition, anti-authoritarianism, and liberation.
Overall, this season provides a satisfying ending to this international success. Not only is the scale of their robberies on an entirely different level than famed classics like “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), but the manner in which the characters, storyline, and visuals also interact to provide a thrilling, fresh rendition of a heist series. Combined with their message of liberation for the working class that resonates with millions, it’s no surprise that this foreign show has gained so much attention across the world. Though the show has come to an end, “Money Heist” has subverted our preconceptions of foreign shows, shining a light on many other international productions and leaving the door open for more innovation in television.